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And… You’re Out!

Face it. HR types are just doing their jobs

➔ From the perspective of the employer, the hiring process is a game of elimination. That’s right. “How can I get this stack of 100 [you can insert your own number here] resumes and applications down to a manageable number?” In this case, a manageable number may be around five to eight.

And that’s just the first elimination round. And that’s true pretty much across the board.

Let the whittling begin

Even in our modern, digital age of ATS (automated tracking system), the machines are designed to eliminate as many candidates as possible — presumably to make the jobs of the human screeners that much easier.

In subsequent rounds of elimination, the same holds true. The major difference is that once you’ve gotten over the first hurdle, the screeners (human or otherwise) tend to scrutinize the candidates much more carefully and closely – for the purpose of eliminating them.

What does all this mean to you, the job seeker?

Well, for one thing, it means don’t take rejection personally. In all likelihood, your resume or application contained some sort of red flag, or it was missing some keyword (or phrase) for which they were looking. The result? Bang. You’re out the door.

Interviews are no different. From the moment you walk into the room, they’re looking for a reason, any reason, any excuse to scratch you from the list.

Which leads us to your challenge. Don’t give them an excuse. First, make certain that your resume matches the job description (or advertisement, or posting, etc.) as closely as possible. It’s your turn to scrutinize. Thoroughly digest what they’re looking for and give it to them. Leave no stone unturned.

Then, carry this approach through to the interview stage. Be on time. Dress appropriately. Be polite. (These may sound obvious, but you would be amazed by the number of people who try to play fast and loose with these basics.) Also, learn as much about that employer that you can so that you can “ace” the interview.

Of course, the final step is the thank you and/or follow up. Be timely. Be appropriate. Be direct.

The bad news is that doing all the right things won’t stop you from being eliminated for some seemingly unrelated issue. But, as noted earlier, don’t take it personally. They’re just doing their jobs.


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